As the face of Gators football, quarterbacks should be held to higher standard | Whitley

David Whitley
Gator Sports

Florida’s had about 100 starting quarterbacks since its first team in 1906. At some point, all of them discovered an eternal truth.

When they succeed, it’s big news. When they stumble, it’s big news.

Anthony Richardson did both last week. He looked like a maturing and confident quarterback in the Orange and Blue Game. But he drove like an irresponsible 19-year-old sophomore a few nights earlier.

Deputies clocked his Dodge going 105 mph on Newberry Road. Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times broke the speeding-ticket story, and quickly turned into Public Enemy No. 1 in the fever swamps of social media.

Trolls said it was a non-story. The media’s out to get the Gators. Baker’s a $!$@#.

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If that's your take, please remove your orange and blue glasses.

It would have been a non-story if you, me or the average UF student got a speeding ticket. It would have been a non-story if it were an average speeding ticket.

But Richardson wasn’t doing 37 in a 25-mph zone. He was driving 105 mph — 45 mph above the speed limit and fast enough for one slip to be catastrophically newsworthy.

I suspect if Alabama QB Bryce Young had been pulled doing 105 on a road in Tuscaloosa, most UF fans would have found it significant.

And you know who else thought Richardson’s ticket was newsworthy? Richardson.

“When I saw the story, I wasn’t mad because I was wrong,” he told On3.com Gators Online.

Richardson said he regrets making his family look bad. He realizes he’s the face of the team, which in many ways makes him the face of the university.

“Honestly, I’m glad I’ve got people watching me,” he said. “It keeps me on the right track and keeps me focused.”

To his credit, Richardson took responsibility and says he’s learned the eternal lesson for UF quarterbacks: They should be held to a different standard than the average person.

It’d be nice if all of Richardson’s apologists realized that, too. ...

UF track relay team sets record

Stud of the Week: Florida men's track 4X400-meter relay team, which set an NCAA record of 2:58.53. I don’t know what that translates to in miles per hour, but it probably would warrant a speeding ticket on Newberry Road.

Dud of the Week: L.A. manager Dave Roberts, for pulling Clayton Kershaw when he was six outs from throwing a perfect game and thrown only 80 pitches.

I get “load management” and protecting your investment for the long haul, but if Roberts had piloted the Spirit of St. Louis, he would have ditched the plane off the coast of France because he feared it was running out gas. ...

Dud II: Kyrie Irving, for twice flipping off rabid Celtics fans during Brooklyn’s Sunday game in Boston. Irving justified it by saying he was just “returning the same energy” to fans. I wish I’d thought of that when I flipped off my 10th grade Algebra teacher for flunking me. ...

How today's athletes have gone soft 

Load Management II: I don’t want to say today’s athletes have gone soft, but only five NBA players played all 82 regular-season games this past season. In 1961, Wilt Chamberlain played every game, averaged 48.5 minutes, 50.4 points and 25.7 rebounds a night. ... 

Trivia question: Who was UF’s first quarterback?

Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor's egg farm supposedly had to euthanize 5.3 million chickens due to the bird flu. To protest, a chicken-loving woman glued her hand to the court during a Timberwolves playoff game last week. The next game, another woman chained herself to the basket.

As punishment, a judge is expected to have both women chained to seats and forced to watch reruns of every Lakers’ game this season. ... 

Load Management III: I don’t want to say today’s athletes have gone soft, but Nolan Ryan threw 235 pitches in a game in 1973. He went on to pitch five more no-hitters and strike out about 5,000 more batters. ...

Remember the guy who paid $518,000 for the football Tom Brady threw for his “final” TD pass? Brady unretired, of course, and Leland’s Auction announced last week it was voiding the sale.

In related news, sales of every home run ball Barry Bonds hit after 1999 have been voided after they all tested positive for PEDs. ...

Load Management IV: I don’t want to say sportswriters have gone soft, but Sun columnist Jack Hairston wrote 281 straight days in 1976. I’m barely halfway through this one and need a reliever. ...

Trivia answer: The first UF quarterback was Charlie Thompson. He reportedly got a speeding ticket for driving a mule-drawn wagon 17 mph down University Avenue. ...

Load Management V: I don’t want to say today’s athletes have gone soft, but Cleveland pitcher Ray Caldwell was hit by lightning during the ninth inning of a game in 1919. He regained consciousness, dusted himself off and got the final out of the game. ...

This Just In: Colin Kaepernick has glued himself to Roger Goodell's office door to protest not getting a quarterback job in the NFL. ...

Scan a player?:QR codes, linking to merchandise sites, will be on UCF spring game uniforms

UCF’s “The Future of College Football is Here” schtick rolls on. Last spring game, players had their Twitter handles instead of their names on their uniforms. This past Saturday, they had QR codes instead of numbers. UCF’s plan is to eventually play all games in the Facebook metaverse, change its nickname to the Fighting QR Codes and declare itself national champion every season. ...

Anger Management II: I don’t want to say today’s athletes have gone soft, but Jackie Robinson was called a lot worse things by a lot more people for a lot longer than Kyrie Irving, yet he never flipped anyone off. ...

That’s about all the space we have for this week’s Whitley’s Believe It or Not. We’ll try again next week unless I get hit by lightning or a protester glues herself to my computer after I order a bucket of KFC extra crispy chicken.

— David Whitley is The Gainesville Sun's sports columnist. Contact him at dwhitley@gannett.com. And follow him on Twitter: @DavidEWhitley.